It is usually a rude shock to parents when their toddler learns to say the dreaded ‘no’ word. Suddenly they feel out of control as their two year old throws tantrums about every second thing that happens in their life. They may think that this is all their fault, and turn to parenting books in desperation. What have they done to make their toddler behave so abominably? Usually, nothing. The terrible twos is a well-known phrase in your child’s development.
- You have more power than you think over the way your child will develop now and into the future. It is important to increase their self esteem if you want them to be well-adjusted and confident as they grow up. It is a simple thing to praise them for doing or attempting to do anything that is good. But comparing them with others to their detriment will certainly prevent them from trying and can have devastating consequences on their future emotional development.
- It is easy to fall into the habit of criticising your child. They are naturally messy, especially when they are learning to do things. Instead, watch for all the good things they do and praise them for those. When you catch them being good and hug them for it, they will be more likely to repeat those actions.
- Be consistent with the limits and discipline. If you scold a child for doing something wrong today, but let them get away with it tomorrow you are sending mixed messages that confuse the child. Parents sometimes only discipline a child when they get angry enough. Discipline is not about punishment, but about teaching the child what is acceptable and encouraging them to do that each time.
- Spend time with your kids. Children don’t need expensive games and toys. They want their parents’ attention. They are quite happy tearing up newspaper if it means doing it with their mum or dad.
- Act how you want your children to act. If you are rude to others or swear a lot, you cannot expect your child to be polite or to not swear. They will do what they see you doing, so set a good example.
- Taking time to explain the what, why and when of family life and of problems you or others experience will help your child understand their life and make sense of it. Knowing that they can trust you to talk to them and give them the kind of age appropriate answers they need will set the standard for their teen years, when more problems are likely to pop up.